New Zealand Historic Places Trust - Heritage This Month

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·         From the rubble - High Street stories

·         Roof shout with a difference

·         Proposed for registration

·         Reel Life in Canterbury

·         New on the Register - St Benedict's

·         Calling Auckland's heritage gardeners

·         New Quilts for Old Beds at Highwic

·         WANTED: Alberton artwork

·         Owen signs off

·         Historic meeting in Kerikeri

·         Have a ball at Alberton


Northern Region

1 September: Alberton celebrates spring... and Mozart

Today only Starlight String Quartet and friends perform favourite Mozart selections at 2.30pm including excerpts from The Magic Flute performed by guest flautist Jean Ham.

Call Alberton on 09 846 7367 as numbers are limited. $20 per person, includes afternoon tea.

Until 29 September: New Quilts For Old Beds, at Highwic

An exhibition of fresh modern quilts set against Highwic's Victorian ambiance. (Open 10:30-4:30 Wed-Sun).

28/29 September and 2 October: Time Travel in Newmarket - A photographic exhibition by Sonjia Gardien. Highwic's Billiard House.
How times have changed - Sonjia's exhibition uses old images of Newmarket transposed to a modern context, illustrating changes over time in the area's urbanscape.

And coming to Highwic in November: enjoy the sights and scents of early blooms at Highwic’s Sweet Pea Festival and Garden Party on November 23-24. For more information and bookings contact

At Reyburn House, Whangarei: ‘The Embroiderers’ Art’, an exhibition of amazing skill in this ancient craft. Opening noon, 5 September, until 29 September.

Inaugural AGM notice for Historic Places Hawke's Bay

Sunday 8 September, 2pm at Stoneycroft, the Hawke's Bay digital archive on Omahu Road (at the corner of the HB Expressway), Hastings. James Morgan will describe the function of the Archive and conduct a tour of the historic building. For more information contact

And a tour planned for Sunday 10 November will visit the recently restored Waipawa Theatre and St Peter’s Church, including the re-cently restored Todd and Rathbone graves. Lunch at Oruawharo will be followed by a visit to the Californian bungalow Hinerangi (1919) and the charming Pukehou Church. Contact Robert McGregor (06) 835 7434. Cost is $65 pr $75, including lunch.

Southern Region

3-5 October: Heritage Impact 150 Symposium: Heritage-Led Regeneration - celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Dunedin Gasworks. Sir Neil Cossons, Patron of the Dunedin Gasworks Museum will be keynote speaker. Toitu Otago Settlers Museum

15 November at 12:30pm: Annual Forrester and Lemon lecture, Oamaru:
Living with Old & New:
Presented by Bruce Petry (OWCT Trustee and Salmond Reed architect). The lecture will look at issues of managing working historic areas and discuss conservation of historic places, adaptive re-use and building new while maintaining the character and authenticity of the place. Venue: Ink Box at Oamaru Opera House.  

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From the rubble - High Street stories

Main Content Inline SmallThe Canterbury earthquakes irrevocably damaged Christchurch’s High Street precinct. The area’s Victorian and Edwardian streetscapes and lively, interconnected laneways changed forever, with a majority of its mostly masonry heritage buildings now demolished. A new digital multimedia project, led by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT), is set to fill some of the gaps of what's been lost – in the realm of cyberspace.

The High Street Stories website and augmented reality app, launched last month, feature over 100 stories about Christchurch's High Street precinct, as well as images, music and film. The android app developed by HitLab (Human Interface Technology Laboratory) features the precinct in its pre-earthquake state through the magic of augmented reality. 

“Users can wander around the area using an android phone or mobile device and see images of the now demolished heritage buildings and the precinct as it was before the quakes whilst listening to history and anecdotes about life in the area,” says NZHPT Canterbury/West Coast Area Coordinator Zoe Roland.

Like the app, the website (designed by the award-winning team at NV Interactive) features stories from the 1800s through to life on the street days before the earthquakes.

“NV have made content easily navigable and accessible for a wide range of users. They’ve also created a site which is beautiful to look at,” Zoe says.

The audio stories, histories and anecdoes of life in the precinct explore the area’s architectural heritage and manufacturing traditions, and doesn't shy away from stories of its role as Christchurch’s red light district. 

“We've delved into the past – taking a specific geographic place and slicing backwards through time, letting the area's stories and characters bubble to the surface,” says NV Interactive Digital Strategist Tim McConnell.

“We wanted users to experience the stories, both on the website and the app on their smartphones while actually standing in High Street, everything needed to be usable and effective when displayed on a tiny three inch screen,” says Tim.

This project was funded by the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, Vodafone and Internet New Zealand and supported by HitLab, NV Interactive and CEISMIC.

To download the app directly from Google Play search using "High Street Stories", or visit for a link, and to experience the stories through the site. 

Photo: some of the 80 guests testing out the app at last month's launch.

Roof shout with a difference

Main Content Inline Small

A roof shout with a difference is taking place in mid-September.

Te Waimate Mission – the NZHPT property in Waimate North – is celebrating its new shingle roof with two open days (September 14/15) featuring on-site tours and presentations looking at the work. 

“Our roof shout is a little different - it's all about the roof and not about beer!” says Te Waimate Mission’s manager, Mita Harris.

The reshingling, which was part-funded by Pub Charity, was a major undertaking. A giant weatherproof canopy was installed over the entire mission house to protect the 181-year-old building from the elements while old roofing iron was stripped off and replacement shingles installed.

“We’re looking forward to showing off the new roof, which looks fantastic – and inviting people closely involved with the work to talk about what was involved and how the project has gone.”

Weather permitting, guided tours will take visitors to areas surrounding Te Waimate Mission – including the adjacent King Paddock and Bedggood site, both of which are rich in archaeological features.

The site of the recently deconstructed Bedggood Cottage will also re-open to the public on 14 September, and information about the history of the cottage and the wider area will be available over the two days. Buildings archaeologist Wesley McGuire will be on hand to reveal discoveries made during the building’s deconstruction.

“This marks completion of two significant projects – and we invite people to come out to the open days, when entry will be reduced to a gold coin donation, so people can see for themselves – and tell their friends and family – how great Te Waimate is looking with its new roof.”

Roof Shout programme:
Saturday 14 September
- 10am: presentations by the NZHPT, Henwood Builders who undertook the work, and the Bedggood family
- 11am: BBQ begins; 11.30am -2pm: tours of Te Waimate Mission and the Bedggood site.

Sunday 15 September
- 10am: Presentation on site by NZHPT staff followed by tour of Te Waimate Mission. Morning tea available.

Photo: Te Waimate Mission – complete with new shingle roof (NZHPT)

Proposed for registration

Main Content Inline SmallThe remains of a once thriving flax industry in the Manawatu and Horowhenua areas have been proposed for registration as a Category 1 historic place by the NZHPT.

The concrete remains of the Tane Hemp Company Limited Suspension Bridge and Flaxmill are a prominent landmark on the Manawatu River at Opiki. Completed in 1917-18, the bridge and flaxmill were part of New Zealand’s largest commercial flax industry.

Flax fibre, one of New Zealand’s earliest export products, made a key contribution to the national economy, says NZHPT Historian Karen Astwood.

“There were many flax growing regions in New Zealand, but the Manawatu and Horowhenua were notable. The Makerua Swamp stretching between Linton and Shannon was an important centre, and production peaked during World War One.”

Prominent local flax industry families, the Seiferts and Akers, combined forces with other investors in 1915 to form the Tane Hemp Company Limited. Access to the local railway station was problematic, so roads through the swamp and means of crossing the Manawatu River were soon devised. This included the company’s significant investment in a suspension bridge, constructed in reinforced concrete, an early use in bridges.

Designed by well-known bridge builder Joseph Dawson, it was one of the longest main span bridges ever constructed in New Zealand.

A devastating flax disease compounded a post-war slump in demand for flax fibre and by the early 1920s the Tane Hemp mill, and the majority of its local counterparts, had closed. The mills were demolished and the swamp drained to create farmland, with the suspension bridge passing into sole Akers family ownership.

After the flax industry collapsed, the bridge gained distinction as the only privately owned toll bridge in this country’s highway network. In 1969, a replacement state highway bridge was constructed and the decking of the suspension bridge was removed.

“The suspension bridge and the flaxmill remains are landmark structures; the only significant traces of a formerly defining regional industry,” says Karen.

View the registration proposal report online. The public can to make written submissions to the NZHPT by 3 September 2013.

Photo: Tane Hemp Company Limited Suspension Bridge and Flaxmill Remains viewed from east side of the Manawatu River (NZHPT)

Reel Life in Canterbury

A Daughter of Christchurch (1928)14-22 September: Admission just $5 per person, door sales only. Screening programme runs for approx. 75 minutes

Canterbury’s past comes to life in cinematic splendor this month when the Film Archive and New Zealand Historic Places Trust partner again to present a programme of films made between 1910 and 2011.

The films, which show people at work, at home and at play around the region, all showcase the creative spirit and adaptability of Cantabrians.

Curated by Jane Paul (National Programmes Manager, NZFA), Reel Life in Canterbury includes 17 short films that will be screened in NZHPT-registered historic buildings. Each building has long been prominent in local community life, courtesy of the landowners.

Local historians will introduce each screening and live accompaniment to the silent films on the programme will be provided by musicians Jan Preston and Mike Pullman.

The earliest film on the programme is also the oldest home movie in the Film Archive's collection. Made in 1910 it shows the Hinge family enjoying time together in their home and garden at 10 Berry St, St Albans, Christchurch.

Beloved community comedy A Daughter of Christchurch (1928) sees a pretty new schoolteacher arrive in town, to be wooed by two suitors: Freddy Fishface, a shady journalist, and Bill Cowcocky, a handsome farmer. The plot is fast and furious with the men battling to outwit each other. It all culminates with a fistfight on the banks of the Avon. Starring Christchurch locals Jane Kinsey, Don Harvey and Edwin Williams. A Daughter of Christchurch is one of 23 community comedies made by director Rudall Hayward in different New Zealand towns between 1928 and 1929.

Christchurch architecture is one theme and Reel Life in Canterbury features footage of several buildings badly affected or that did not survive the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, including the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes Street, Sumner and Lyttelton residential areas, the Cathedral and the Works Department Building.

Fairlie, Lake Tekapo, Kaikoura, Timaru, and Waimate will also feature, along with films from across the Canterbury region, such as Off For Mount Cook (1926), a government publicity film in which tourists ski and make snowmen, then dance at The Hermitage, “New Zealand’s best tourist hotel".

A 1930s home movie by Brian Little documents country life on a North Canterbury sheep farm, Hui Hui. Workers cut oats with horse power, then drink tea in field at smoko. Brian Little was the grandson of James Little, the originator of the Corriedale sheep breed.

Another notable Canterbury resident, Sir William Hamilton, the inventor behind the Hamilton Jet waterjet, features in home movie footage. Hamilton’s innovations during the 1950s revolutionised the boating world. The film shows scenes of Hamilton family life at Lake Tekapo during the 1930s - including his children iceskating on the lake while wearing an elaborate horse costume.

For programme details visit the NZHPT's website.

Photo: Still from A Daughter of Christchurch (1928), Film Archives Stills Collection

New on the Register - St Benedict's

Main Content Inline SmallSt Benedict’s Church and Presbytery complex in Newton – featuring significant 19th century Gothic Revival buildings – has been recognised as a Category 1 historic place.

NZHPT Heritage Adviser Registration, Martin Jones say St Benedict’s was completed in 1888 after a fire destroyed the original wooden church building that had dominated the early Auckland skyline. It had provided an important centre for a parish that, in the early 1880s, comprised up to 2000 people.

Built on what the NZ Herald described as ‘the highest ground about the city’, St Benedict’s was the headquarters of the first Benedictine mission in New Zealand.

“St Benedict’s Church and Presbytery was unique in this country in that it was founded from the Subiaco monastery in Italy – a major centre for the Benedictine revival – and Subiaco’s daughter establishment of St Augustine’s Abbey in Ramsgate, England,” says Martin.

During the 1880s, Benedictine fathers made up about half of the Catholic priests in the Auckland Diocese. So significant was their influence on the Auckland Catholic community, an arrangement with the Abbot of Subiaco allowed for the possibility that the they might take responsibility for the entire Auckland Diocese. By 1888, however, the idea was set aside due to insufficient funds.

“Over the next 11 years, key Benedictine leaders were recalled or passed away and by 1899 the mission was effectively defunct and the parish came under diocesan control – but the church remains a tangible remnant.”

Initial plans included elaborately traceried windows, external mouldings and even a spire-less tower in its northeast corner. The building's final design was simple, reflecting Benedictine monastic values of simplicity and austerity, but with a strong Gothic Revival appearance.

“The end product embodies the notion of ‘honesty of construction’ in which a building’s practical usage and construction materials should not be concealed,” says Martin.

“The building has a ‘what you see is what you get’ practicality to it and has been referred to as ‘a fine essay in Gothic Revival architecture rendered in brick masonry’ - though it is possibly even more significant as a survivor of the first Benedictine mission to New Zealand,” says Martin.

Photo: St Benedict’s church in Auckland (NZHPT)

Calling Auckland's heritage gardeners

Main Content Inline SmallInterested in being part of the rich gardening heritage of one of Auckland’s most loved historic places?

Highwic, the NZHPT's property in Newmarket, is looking for keen gardeners - who are willing to learn about heritage gardens - to work as part of its specialist team of gardening volunteers.

“We’re keen to hear from people with an enthusiasm for New Zealand heritage, social and garden history, who enjoy teamwork and who can commit to a minimum of eight hours per fortnight,” says Christiane Pracht of Highwic.

The team meets every Wednesday morning, and full training is provided. Duties include general maintenance of garden beds, planting and fertilising according to the annual garden plan, assistance with propagation, care of the fernery and other gardening work.

“Last year, Highwic’s garden achieved Garden of Significance status with the New Zealand Gardens Trust – a real testimony to the commitment and work of our gardening volunteers,” says Christiane.

“We want to build on that success, and would love to hear from anyone who shares our vision for this, and who might have some time to spare.”

For more information contact Christiane on ph 09 524 5729, or email

Photo: Sarah Yates, volunteer garden manager

New Quilts for Old Beds at Highwic

Main Content Inline SmallAnd also at Highwic, a new take on a traditional art form will be displayed from mid-September when the Point Chevalier Monday Modern Quilt Group showcases a range of their stunning pieces. The exhibition New Quilts for Old Beds runs from 18 to 29 September (NB Highwic is closed Mondays and Tuesdays).

“The exhibition will feature striking examples of modern quilts from very skilled craftspeople whose work reinterprets traditional quilting ideas with fresh modern fabrics and new designs,” says the Highwic's Manager, Cheryl Laurie.

“It will be a wonderful celebration of modern quilting.”

Melanie Hastings of the Point Chevalier Monday Modern Quilt Group says there are features that set modern quilts apart from the more traditional styles.

These often include use of bold colours and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid colour, improvisational piecing, deliberate imperfections or inconsistencies and minimalism – to name only a few,” says Melanie, who is helping to coordinate the exhibition.

“We believe the most important things about quilts are that they get finished; that they get used; that they are enjoyed and that we have fun making them,” she says, adding that modern quilting appears to be at the forefront of a whole new generation of interest in the art of quilt making. 

“At one point quilting looked like being one of the ‘traditional’ skills in danger of dying out.  But like many crafts there has been a resurgence of interest in it.”

Today’s modern quilters, however, most likely did not grow up immersed in the culture of quilting, and probably don’t have a cupboard of vintage quilts made by their mothers, grandmothers or great-grandmothers. 

“New quilters may not know anyone else who quilts – and so for the modern quilter social networking often becomes important.  Today many, perhaps most, modern quilters will draw inspiration, motivation and enthusiasm from blogs and web communities like Flickr and Pinterest,” she says.

“Interestingly, despite often solitary beginnings, due to the resurgence of interest in the craft, quilters are now finding that modern quilt guilds and informal groups are thriving, giving us a ‘real life’ outlet for our interest too.”

Modern quilters owe much to traditional quilters – but relish the chance to make a bold statement in whichever way they choose.  The exhibition at Highwic will showcase some wonderful examples of this new approach.

Photo: The standard $10 admission per adult gets visitors access to the exhibition as well. Children and NZHPT members visit for free. Open 10:30 to 4:30 Wed-Sun.

WANTED: Alberton artwork

An exhibition of old and new paintings, photos and drawings of Alberton – the NZ Historic Places Trust property in Mt Albert – will showcase the building as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations.

And although an impressive range of artwork has already been sourced, there’s room for more according to Alberton’s Manager, Rendell McIntosh.

“Alberton is one of those iconic Auckland buildings that has been depicted in all sorts of media over the years – from formal photography, through to original artwork and even popular culture,” says Rendell.

“We’d love to hear from anyone who might have an image of Alberton they might be prepared to lend to us for use in our October exhibition.”

People with artwork can contact Rendell on ph 09 846 7367 or email

The Alberton exhibition will run from October 5-13, 10.30am-4pm. Admission - $10pp; NZHPT members free.

Owen signs off

Main Content Inline SmallOwen Graham has left the NZHPT after six years as Area Manager for Otago/Southland and to recognise his service to NZHPT and regional heritage a group of 50 people and NZHPT staff farewelled him at a function on 20 August, sharing stories and offering thanks to for Owen's positive and solutions-driven style of leadership.

The function was held at the newly refurbished former Dunedin North Post Office, now called the HD Skinner Annex. It has become a venue and exhibition space for Otago Museum and its opening exhibition “Heritage Lost and Found, Our Changing Cityscape” is a collaboration between the Museum and NZHPT.

Guests took the opportunity for a few words with Owen and a look through the exhibition which runs until November.

Historic meeting in Kerikeri

Main Content Inline SmallA historic meeting took place in Kerikeri recently – in more ways than one, when the NZHPT’s Northland Branch Committee were presented with Certificates of Merit and Meritorious Service by the NZHPT’s Board Chair, Shonagh Kenderdine.

The occasion marked the end of the NZHPT’s Northland Branch Committee and celebrated their years of services.

“The NZHPT’s Northland Branch Committee has done tremendous work for heritage over the years, and it was great that we as an organisation were able to formally acknowledge that commitment and achievement,” says the NZHPT’s Northland Area Manager, Bill Edwards.

It also marked the beginning of Heritage Northland Inc, a new local volunteer heritage organisation.

Chair of Heritage Northland Inc, Lloyd Walker, would like to hear from people who might be interested in supporting their work, or taking part in any activities.

Contact Heritage Northland's Secretary, Merle Newlove, on ph 09 439 7492 or email for more information.

Photo: One of the longest-serving Northland Branch Committee members, Heather Ayrton of Kaikohe, receives a Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Chair of the NZHPT Shonagh Kenderdine.

Have a ball at Alberton

Celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Alberton – the Mt Albert mansion cared for by the NZHPT – will continue with a formal ball on 14 September.

And people don’t need to come with a partner to enjoy this premium event, which offers the opportunity to experience colonial-era dancing under the expert guidance of Beth Harris.

“Beth has been teaching English Country Dancing, Early Dance and International Dance for the past 30 years, and has a special interest in colonial dances of early New Zealand,” says the Manager of Alberton, Rendell McIntosh.

“She’s a great teacher, and certainly knows how to make dancing fun so everyone is in for a treat.”

This be the first time in at least 20 years that Alberton has hosted this type of event.

“Our ball is inspired by a similar event held in the Alberton Barn on September 20, 1877 when over 250 people danced in the first County – or Riding Ball – held in New Zealand,” says Rendell, although numbers for this event are limited to 30.

“The ball would have attracted prominent community leaders and business people of the day, given that Alberton was a social centre for Auckland’s colonial elite. Although the ball was held in the barn, it’s fair to say that it was certainly no barn dance.”

The spirit of that first formal occasion will be recaptured again at the formal dance which will take place – appropriately – in Alberton’s ballroom.

“Our programme will include Victorian and Ceilidh dances with live music from the ‘Rose and Thistle’ Country Dance Band,” says Rendell.

“Guests are encouraged to dress up in their finery, and Victorian outfits if they wish, and take part in one of our two wonderful events, which will themselves become a part of Alberton’s history.”

The cost is $30 per person, which includes supper. The ball starts at 7pm and bookings are essential – email or phone 09 846 7367.